Richard Branson has long been working on revolutionizing the way people travel the skies. Now, he might have similar aspirations for here on Earth.
In an interview with British GQ, the Virgin founder apparently hinted that he's interested in getting involved with the hyperloop, the high-speed rail idea first proposed by Elon Musk in 2013. "Hyperloop and Virgin--there's something on the horizon," he told the publication, according to the International Business Times. (The GQ story is not yet online or on news stands here in the U.S.)
Branson has shown an interest in high-speed travel throughout his career. He founded Virgin Airways in 1984 as a more hip, customer-friendly alternative to legacy airlines. Virgin Galactic, launched in 2004, is intended to serve initially as a space tourism company, but Branson has said it could someday be used to transport people across the world at lightning speed--say, from London to Sydney in two and a half hours.
Though it's still likely years away from breaking any ground, Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One has made the most progress toward developing the necessary technology for the train, which the company says would levitate above its rails and travel at speeds of up to 700 mph. Hyperloop One demonstrated a scaled-down version of its tech last year and has said it plans to show a larger scale version later this year. The startup recently announced 35 finalists from among 2,600 submissions for proposed routes, of which it says it will pursue three.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, another Los Angeles-based startup, is working on similar technology, though it has yet to show it off to the public. That company announced a partnership with the South Korean government this week to work on developing a working prototype.
It's not clear whether Branson plans to begin his own rival company, or if he's looking to get involved with one of the existing companies. When reached by Inc. through a company spokesperson, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn would not confirm nor deny Branson's potential involvement, adding, "As the first company to begin making the hyperloop a reality back in 2013, seeing the continued growth of this movement is amazing. We look forward to collaborating with all the different players to accelerate this newborn industry."
Read the full article originally published here.